The most important part of getting a new pair of pointe shoes, or even making old ones last, is the way you break them in and make them stronger so that they work best for heavy use and your personal foot shape and preferences. These easy pointe shoe hacks will help you do just that.
1. Stitch on Ribbons with Upholstery Thread
If you have ever had your ribbons come off when you're dancing, then you know how much of a pain it is. Unfortunately, all the work you do in your shoes stresses the threads holding your ribbons on and eventually breaks them.
To fix that, reattach (or reinforce if they haven't come off yet) your ribbons with upholstery thread. Upholstery thread is made for furniture which uses thick fabric and is made for heavy use. Once your ribbons are secured with upholstery thread, they are there for good.
2. Find a Friend with Your Foot Shape
Finding pointe shoes can be hard when everyone has a different foot shape, and some pointe shoes can be uncomfortable if they don't work well with your particular foot shape and level of flexibility. Getting your ideal shoe is a game of trial and error, but you can make it a bit easier by finding someone with a foot shape similar to yours and trying the brand/type of pointe shoe they use.
3. Score the Bottom of Your Shoes
An important thing in dancing is being able to grip the floor. Your pointe work won't look very nice if your slide across the floor with every step! To help with your grip, you can score the bottom of your shoes. (You might need a parent's help for this.) All you have to do is take a craft knife and use it to lightly cut a cross-hatched pattern into the wood on the bottom of your point shoe. When you're done it should work somewhat like the tread on the bottom of a pair of sneakers!
If you want even more grip, you can also remove the satin from the toe of your shoe.
4. Pack Nail Polish in Your Dance Bag
Satin is beautiful, but over time, working in your pointe shoes can cause the satin on the outside of the shoe as well as the shoes' ribbons to fray. Don't worry! You can fix this easier than you would think. All you need to do is carefully coat the frayed edges with clear nail polish. The nail polish will harden and seal the threads to prevent further fraying, and you won't be able to see it because it is clear.
5. Trim Your Shank
Trimming the shank in your pointe shoe is important because it helps you control where your pointe shoe breaks. To do this, all you need to do is pull back the fabric around the shank so that is it exposed and trim it to where your arch is the deepest. You'll also want to make sure to shave the end of the shank down so it is smooth. When you're done, you'll have a shank that conforms to your foot better and looks better on your foot!
6. Baby Powder Your Toe Pads
You probably know that you have to wash your toe pads, but depending on the material your toe pads are made of, washing them can make them sticky. To combat this, lightly powder your toe pads with baby powder until they are no longer sticky. It's that simple!
7. Blow Dry those Sweaty Shoes
If there is one thing pointe shoes do not like, it's moisture. Moisture will make pointe shoes wear out faster over time than they would otherwise. Unfortunately, actually doing pointe work makes your feet sweat and, in turn, puts moisture in your pointe shoes! To keep moisture from ruining your pointe shoes, you could rotate your shoes if you have multiple pairs. However, if you don't have more than one pair of pointe shoes, you can just take care to blow dry your shoes whenever you are done using them. You can also put them away with silica gel packets in them to absorb any excess moisture (you know, those weird packets you find in shoe boxes).